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Two Men Jailed Following The Disappearance And Murder Of Maggie Smythe In Bolton

Maggie Smythe went missing back in January.

Today, Christopher Taylor, 40, of Greenroyd Avenue in Bolton was handed a life sentence with minimum tariff of 24 years at Bolton Crown Court after a jury found him guilty of the murder of Maggie Smythe.

Brian Ottley, 30, of no fixed address, was found guilty of assisting an offender and sentenced to 9 years in prison.

Maggie, 29, was last seen by her family early on Saturday 26 January 2019 at her home in Breightmet. She failed to turn up to work that evening and her family reported her missing to police.

An investigation was launched and later that day police spoke to Maggie’s ex-partner, Christopher Taylor, who claimed he hadn’t seen Maggie for weeks, and had no means of contacting her because he didn’t have a phone.

He said he was at home on the night of her disappearance and told police he went to collect fishing equipment in the early hours of Saturday. 

The following day, on Sunday 27 January, officers paid another visit to Taylor at home, but this time he changed his account of where he was during the night Maggie went missing, saying that he had also been to the nearby Spar shop on New Lane at 7am.

He said he had left home between 3am and 7am to collect fishing tackle from Red Bridge Lodge, he brought it home and then went to the Spar shop. Officers visited the Spar and viewed the CCTV which showed him wearing wet, muddy trainers leaving muddy footprints around the shop which raised suspicions about what Taylor had been doing in those early hours.

Police suspected that Taylor was lying as they had evidence to suggest that he had been with Maggie before she went missing. It soon became clear to detectives that Taylor was a suspect, and he was arrested on Wednesday 30 January on suspicion of murder.

Two days later officers arrested Brian Ottley, Taylor’s brother, in connection with Maggie’s disappearance.

The evidence showed that Taylor and Ottley left their home at Greenroyd Avenue around 10.30am on Saturday 26 January, hours after Maggie’s disappearance, carrying what appeared to be fishing gear and a bag. This was one of several visits they made to the lake behind the Red Bridge Tavern in the days following Maggie’s disappearance.

The next morning, around 8.30am, the pair were seen making their way to the same area carrying a ladder. Later that day, around 5pm, they were spotted walking home separately. Ottley was seen with a bag, and Taylor had a large holdall with wheels. Police suspect this was how Taylor and Ottley removed some of Maggie’s body parts from the scene. Around 7pm that night they returned to the scene again.

The court heard that the purpose of the visits to the Red Bridge Tavern was for Taylor and Ottley to dispose of Maggie’s body.

On February 1 February 2019, officers discovered some of Maggie’s dismembered remains under rubble in the cark park of the Red Bridge Tavern.

Maggie’s leg was later found by a dog-walker in Longsight Park on Monday 18 March. Her head and left arm have never been located, despite extensive police searches.

Detective Inspector David Meeney, of GMP’s Major Investigations Team, said: “Maggie was taken from her family in the most cruel and callous way imaginable at the hands of Taylor, whose actions were nothing short of monstrous.

“Taylor and Ottley consistently manipulated the truth to cover up what happened to Maggie and where they buried her remains. They have stripped Maggie’s family of the opportunity to lay her properly to rest, which has caused the family unbearable heartache.”

“These men have caused irreparable damage and pain to Maggie’s family, but I hope her loved ones get some comfort in knowing that Taylor and Ottley are now behind bars where they belong.

“We are doing everything we can to find Maggie’s remains, but I would appeal to anyone out there with information to get in touch with us as soon as possible on 0161 856 9908.”

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